University of Nairobi, Kenya
Caroline Sawe is a Lecturer at Moi University, Kenya. She teaches Human Nutrition. She is a PhD student at University of Nairobi Kenya in Applied Human Nutrition. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health (Moi University, Kenya), Bachelors of Sciences degree in Foods Nutrition and Dietetics (Egerton University, Kenya). Prior to joining Moi University, she worked at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret as a Nutrition Office and an HIV nutrition research project. She believes research is the most important service she can provide to her poor community because it is only opportunity she can help a generation function knowledgeably in a society where rapid technological advances constantly pose new questions and ethical challenges.
Globally an estimated 19 million children are malnourished. The prevalence of child overweight is rising in low income countries and more in the poor rural setting. It is no longer associated with socio economic elite. It predisposes individuals to adulthood obesity, psychological morbidity and is associated with increase in prevalence of non-communicable diseases. This is a public health issue that needs urgent intervention. In several communities, trained Community Health Workers have been used as agents of improving nutritional outcomes and have proved effective. World Vision Kenya trains them on timed target counseling where they visit mothers and give key nutrition messages at specific times during child’s growth. This study assessed the effect of the counseling intervention on nutritional status of 101 children aged below two years in a rural setting in Kenya. The analysis compared nutritional status before and after the intervention. Child weight and height were collected and Weight for Age Z-scores calculated. Mean age of children was 11.84 months, weight 8.6kg, height 70.86cm and 51(50.5%) were females. The prevalence of overweight and severely overweight was 3.79% and 3.01% at baseline and 10.89% and 4.95% (chi= 21.547, p<0.001) respectively at end-line. It is emerging that overweight in young children is a worrying trend and interventions even in poor settings should not ignore over-nutrition. This trend should be tamed before in early years of life so as to avert its negative consequences in later years.